Jockey Rodrigo Vallejo Wins Six Races on Opening Night at Sam Houston Race Park

(June 23, 2006) - Live American Quarter Horse racing returned to Sam Houston Race Park this evening and the opening night crowd of 6,073 enjoyed a great racing card followed by a fine performance by Jack Ingram in the first of ten Bud Light Texas Music Explosion concerts.

American Quarter Horse rider, Rodrigo Vallejo got off to a spectacular start winning six races on the Friday night racing program. It was a career first for the talented Vallejo, who began riding in Mexico in 1983. He has always been one of the most respected jockeys at Sam Houston Race Park and was the regular rider of 2-year-old Quarter Horse sensation and 2004 Sam Houston Race Park Horse of the Meet, Azoom.

Vallejo piloted Ronas Wind Dancer to victory in the first stakes of the 2006 American Quarter Horse Meeting, the $13,750 Stephen F. Austin Stakes. The 8-year-old Ronas Wind Dancer, owned and bred by Sheri Mueller Rosinski of Bellville, Texas, was making the 39th start of his career. He faced six rivals, including the John Buchanan trained entry of Bigtime Favorite and Sixes Glass. Trained by Jesse Yoakum, the chestnut gelding closed powerfully, covering 350-yards in a final time of :17.614.

“He’s a nice horse,” said Rosinski. “He had some problems, but we think we got them solved. “He’s known for running; he won the $45,000 Barnmaster Stakes two years ago.”

Ronas Wind Dancer, who finished third in the 2005 edition of the Stephen F. Austin Stakes, paid $9.60 for the win. Streakin Lt, under Jeff Jerman, who rode the first three winners of the night, was second and Bigtime Favorite was third.

MNBA Texas Challenge Trial Results

Trials were held for three MBNA America Challenge races earlier in the evening. There were two trials for the MBNA America Texas Challenge and fastest qualifier, This Snow is Cold, won the seventh race in a time of :21.645. The multiple-stakes winner is trained by Melinda Garcia for owners Los Ladrilleros Horse Racing Company. Regular rider Armando Andrade piloted the 5-year-old mare, who has had an outstanding year, winning the MNBA America Oklahoma Challenge (G1) on May 14, defeating a field including SLM Snowman and AHQA World Champion, DM Shicago. Second fastest qualifier was La Jollaroid, a 4-year-old son of Streakin La Jolla, trained by Heath Taylor. His start in the trials was in question for several days as he was bitten by a spider and had massive swelling on his leg earlier this week.

The second MBNA America Texas Challenge trial produced the next two fastest qualifiers as First Comment and DM Shicago ran first and second. First Comment, bred and owned by Wes Owens of Corpus Christi, Texas, is one of the hottest horses in the region. The 4-year-old colt won six races in 2005 including the $333,000 Texas Classic Derby (G1) last November at Lone Star Park for trainer Jeff Acuna.

Defending champion My Prince of Strides ridden by Jeff Jerman was the fastest qualifier in the Red Cell Distance Challenge, completing his 870-yard trial in :45.492. Trained by Matt Baker for owner Warner Croft, My Prince of Strides will return to Sam Houston Race Park on July 8 for the finals. Another Baker-trainee and full-brother to My Prince of Strides, Strider Man also ridden by Jerman, was the second fastest qualifier, crossing the wire in :45.752.

In the Bayer Texas Derby Challenge, Rodrigo Vallejo won each of the three trial races. His best effort was aboard fastest qualifier Sheza Dashing Disco, who rendered a powerful finish and completed her 400-yard trial in :19.86. Trained by Benny Pennington, the 3-year-old sorrel filly was second in the Bayer East Derby Challenge last month at Delta Downs.

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